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Alexandra Lazarova

Graduated June 2021, BSc Biomedical Genetics with Professional Placement Year

Healthcare Science Assistant Practitioner

Having applied to Newcastle University without ever visiting the city itself seemed like a shot in the dark at the time, but I couldn’t be happier with how it panned out. A major draw for me was the Biomedical Genetics course itself, which offered a comprehensive look at the different strands within genetics. Very quickly, I fell in love with the city itself, which has so much to offer.

Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of my degree was my placement year at Leica Biosystems, a cancer diagnostics company based in Newcastle. Working within the fantastic R&D team meant I got to contribute to some exciting live projects, as well as strengthen my laboratory skills, particularly in immunohistochemistry.  See more

Bronwyn Irving

Prior to this, I had very little knowledge of where a biomedical-based degree could take you in industry, so being exposed to the workings of an international life sciences company was incredibly interesting. My placement gave me the opportunity to develop both personally and scientifically, and ultimately made me much more confident going into my final year.

I took my placement experience further and used it in my role as an Employability Ambassador, where I helped 2nd year students through their own placement applications. Having had such a fantastic placement experience, I was really passionate about encouraging students to do the same, and it was really rewarding when students did secure placement positions.

I achieved a First Class (Hons) in Biomedical Genetics, receiving the Stage 3 Biomedical Genetics Prize for achieving the highest overall mark on my course. Though I (briefly) considered pursuing further education, I found myself drawn to pursuing a career within the NHS. A major motivator for this was a Stage 3 module, Medical Genetics, delivered by clinical scientists from the Northern Genetics Service. Their enthusiasm for their work was infectious and I really enjoyed learning about the role of genetics in healthcare.

I was very excited to secure a role as a Healthcare Science Assistant Practitioner within the Wessex Regional Genetics Service, which I’ll be starting shortly. I’m thrilled to be starting my career, especially in an institution such as the NHS.

Getting to live in Newcastle for the past four years has been a delight. Whilst the city is known for its nightlife, which is outstanding, it’s natural beauty is often overlooked. With Tynemouth being only a short metro ride away, spontaneous trips to the beach were not uncommon, alongside picnics in Jesmond Dene and walks along the Quayside.

There is a strong sense of community between students, especially in areas such as Jesmond, where most of your friends live a 5 minute walk away. The friends I’ve made during my time at Newcastle, both through my course and through extra-curricular activities, such as BioSci netball, are definitely friends for life, and have made my experience at Newcastle that much more unforgettable.